How to Cut Firewood with a Chainsaw Safely

  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-150
What You'll Need
Chainsaw oil

Cutting firewood in the forest with a chainsaw has become a favorite family outing for Americans. You can use one of these powerful machines with no accidents if you follow reasonable rules of safety. The five steps below will help you and your family enjoy your firewood cutting outings more by reducing the possibility of potential chainsaw accidents.

Step 1 - Prepare by Wearing the Right Clothes

Remember to wear clothing such as gloves, boots, hats, and glasses, but other less obvious protective measures that people often overlook. For example, loose clothing can get caught in the chainsaw or its bar, but the roar of the chainsaw engine can cause hearing damage to those who fail to wear earplugs.

Step 2 - Take Care with Potential Flammable Material

With any combustion engine, such as those used on chainsaws, you always need to be concerned with the possibility of sparks that can fly out of the exhaust. These sparks are not only a potential fire hazard but they can also set fire to nearby flammable materials such as a gasoline can left nearby after using it to pour fuel into the chainsaw.

Step 3 - Use Care in Starting Your Chainsaw

Starting a chainsaw can be one of the more dangerous activities involving chainsaw use because the person starting the chainsaw can only use one hand to hold the saw. He or she uses the other hand to pull the start cord. The best way to start a chainsaw is to place it on the ground, steady the chainsaw with one foot, and pull the start cord. Never attempt to start a chainsaw when its cutting blades are in contact with the wood you want to cut.

Step 4 - Cut with a Chainsaw

If you are planning to cut a dead tree standing relatively vertical, decide which way you will want the tree to fall. On the side of the tree trunk that faces the direction toward which you will fall the tree, cut a V-shaped notch about 3" to 4" into the trunk.

Before beginning to cut through the trunk, be sure you clear the area of people or property that could be injured or damaged by the falling tree. On the far side of the trunk, directly across from the cut you just made, saw through the trunk toward the V-cut. When your cut has nearly reached the V-cut, the tree will begin falling in the direction you wanted.

Step 5 - Remove Limbs from the Tree Trunk

Clear all larger limbs from the trunk with the chainsaw once the tree has fallen. You can cut off all tree limbs 2" or less in diameter faster with an axe than with the saw. It will be safer because your saw's chain will be less likely to become tangled in the tree's limbs.

Step 6 - Cut Firewood Pieces

Cut the tree's trunk and all limbs larger than 2" in diameter into firewood. If you need more wood, you can begin looking for your next dead tree.